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Sam Elliott as Bobby Maine in A Star is Born

Following its $420 million+ worldwide box office earnings and whopping eight Oscars nominations, A Star is Born has a lot to celebrate. The film has become one of the buzziest films of awards season, largely thanks to the talent of Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott’s work on the musical drama. Amidst the starry-eyed success, Elliott was surrounded by devastation. In his words:

At the same time, all this stuff was going on with A Star is Born, all the screenings, all the Q&As, all the awards shows, that fucking fire came over the top of us in Malibu. We stayed, and poured the water on, and watched the guy next door burn to the ground. And then the floods came, or the rains came, and the shit came on the highways. You know, there were times right after the fire, when the coast highway was shut down, and I was trying to get through the roadblocks with a fucking tuxedo on, coming back from some event in town. The two juxtaposing each other was a weird thing. It’s still very present out there.

Wow, that’s intense! In his interview with Entertainment Weekly, Sam Elliott spoke out about how the Woolsey Fire that swept across Southern California’s Malibu in November affected his and his wife Katharine Ross’ home, which was almost destroyed. It’s crazy to imagine promoting a glitzy film such as A Star is Born while dealing with the emotional tragedy that brushed through his neck of the woods. It certainly couldn’t have been easy.

Sam Elliott said while much of Malibu is covered in green now, a lot was lost in the Woolsey Fire and it’s going to be a long time before it goes back to how it was. Thousands of homes were burned during the wildfire, including the homes of Gerard Butler, Miley Cyrus and Neil Young, along with The Bachelor mansion from the ABC show and sets used for HBO’s Westworld.

As Malibu begins to pick up its feet, Sam Elliott can celebrate his first Oscar nomination ever for Best Supporting Actor, among the many nominations the Bradley Cooper film has received nods for, including for Best Picture and Best Original Song for “Shallow." The actor has been performing for 50 years and known best for his roles in Road House, Tombstone and The Hero, to name a few.

The actor was particularly a highlight in A Star is Born as Jackson Maine’s older brother and manager, who says the film’s most memorable lines about “12 notes” (if you know, you know). In terms of the Oscar’s race, Elliott shares the category with Green Book’s Mahershala Ali, who has overwhelmingly been the favorite during award season.

Sean Penn recently penned an essay about his disappointment how he thinks A Star is Born isn’t being recognized enough as other nominees such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book have been elevated in conversation. The film has already reached and touched so many and Sam Elliott’s honest story about promoting the film through the Woolsey Fire is incredible.

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